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Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Florida Panthers
Venue: BB&T Center; Miami, FL
Time: 7:30 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FSD; Florida-Fox Sports Florida
The Detroit Red Wings (15-9-7, 37 points, 3rd place Atlantic Division) are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when it comes to playing on the road and at home. The Red Wings are the owners of the NHL’s best road record at 10-3-1 overall this season and sit towards the bottom of the pack at home with a 5-6-6 record overall. Traditionally, the Red Wings are a team that flourishes at home which makes it more perplexing to try and figure out why they are so much better on the road this season. The Red Wings will look to continue their road success as they look for revenge against the Florida Panthers (9-17-5, 23 points, 7th place Atlantic Division) on Tuesday night.
The Red Wings dropped their second consecutive home game 2-1 to Florida on Saturday night after they came out flat for the entire game. The Red Wings were able to get the lead in the first period but then allowed Florida to score the next two goals to take the 2-1 victory. The only play that was good by the Red Wings was the goaltending. Despite taking the loss, Jonas Gustavsson stopped 35 of 37 Florida shots. The loss was the Red Wings second in three games after winning four games in a row. The Red Wings have struggled with consistency this season and the past few games have shown that still remains true.
Florida comes into tonight’s game off the hands of a 6-2 route at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. The loss snapped the Panthers two game winning streak and prevented them from getting any momentum going. The Panther’s win over the Red Wings on Saturday was their first divisional win of the season after dropping the first seven divisional games. The Panthers struggle on offense on most nights so if the Red Wings can limit the goals they give up they can give their offense a chance to post a strong outing.
The Red Wings will be getting a big offensive lift tonight when Pavel Datsyuk
returns to the lineup. The offense did not miss a beat in his absence outside of their last game and getting Datayuk back can only help.
Jimmy Howard will get the start in net for the Red Wings after being benched for the past two games. Gustavsson has been the more solid starter in net for the Red Wings as of late and has earned a majority of the playing time. Perhaps a few games off to clear Howard’s head may be what he needs to get going.
The Panthers will counter with Tim Thomas in net tonight. Thomas made the start against the Red Wings on Saturday and earned the victory after stopping 22 of 23 shots. The Red Wings will need to get more shots through to Thomas, who was prone to giving up rebounds on Saturday, if they want to score more than one goal and get the win.